Cricket Australia slashes 40 jobs over coronavirus
Cricket Australia axed 40 jobs on Wednesday to cut costs after the coronavirus crisis, just a day after its CEO resigned.
The "soul-destroying" decision made about 15 percent of staff redundant and was aimed at saving Aus$40 million (US$27.6 million) in costs, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said. The body said it is concerned about further financial shocks this year, with smaller crowds expected and extra spending on safety measures to keep COVID-19 at bay. "We've been through a number of challenges but when you lose really good staff like today it's really gut-wrenching," Eddings said.
The restructuring also includes removing bonuses for senior management and stopping international tours by secondary teams. On Tuesday, Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts resigned as the board pushed for changes at the top. Roberts had furloughed most of Cricket Australia's staff and tried to slash budgets to state bodies and players, arguing revenues would be hit hard by the virus.
However, there was pushback after it became clear that most of Australia's home season, including a lucrative Test series against India, was likely to go ahead. Under the latest changes, all the planned Sheffield Shield and T20 Big Bash League matches will remain but Australia A tours and Cricket Australia XI games are on hold.
Eddings said he was "cautiously optimistic" that huge financial losses forecast for the sport would be tempered as the country continues to keep the spread of the coronavirus under control. Australia has begun easing restrictions, including letting crowds of up to 10,000 into sports stadiums from next month. "We are excited about the prospect of cricket returning this summer but are prepared for fewer crowds and higher associated costs of biosecurity measures," interim chief executive Nick Hockley said. "Taking costs out of the organisation, however painful, helps offset those impacts and we will remain vigilant to changing circumstances."